As the summer season creeps up on us, there’s another season slowly slithering its way into our midst – rattlesnake season. This increased season of potential rattlesnake encounters calls for everyone exploring the state’s great outdoors to be cautious and careful. According to an article by Patch.com, about 7,000 people are bitten by poisonous snakes per year in the United States with only a handful of them resulting in serious injury.
In 2013, roughly, 270 Californians were taken to the hospital because of a snake bite. 166 of them received anti-venin. The official numbers for 2014 have yet to be released, but as of halfway through the year, there were already 128 people admitted to the hospital for snakebites with 93 receiving anti-venin, according to the SGVTribune.com. It was expected that the number of snakebites would easily break 300 incidents for 2014.
California has 10 different kinds of rattlesnakes: 7 different species with two species having different subspecies. According to one source, Western Rattlesnakes are the most commonly seen rattlesnake in California.
The following is a list of tips to prevent being bit by a rattlesnake:
- Keep kids and pets close by when exploring outdoors.
- Watching where you walk is the first priority for avoiding rattlesnakes. In the summer, they typically hide in cooler places like between rocks. In cooler temperatures, snakes tend to lay on rocks or trails.
- Do not reach your hand or feet into holes or dark places.
- If you see a snake, stay far away from it.
- Wear thick, heavy boots that go above the ankles.
- Use a walking stick that’s big enough to be a few feet ahead of your stride.
- If possible, wear pants or leggings.
- If in a park or forest, notify a ranger if you see a snake.
If you happen to get bit by a rattlesnake, the California Poison Control System recommends the following tips:
- Get away from the snake so that you don’t get bit again
- Remain calm and call 911
- Try to avoid moving the wound
- Keep the wound below heart level
- Do not try to suck out the poison
- Do not try to capture the snake
- If possible, safely and calmly get to a nearby medical facility